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Microbiology and Immunology

Group : Biological, Biomedical & Life Sciences
Can be taken as: Major, Honours, Liberal Program

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, unicellular eukaryotes, and parasites. Microorganisms play an important role in human and animal disease; food production (bread, cheese, wine); decay and spoilage; and contamination and purification of water and soil. Microbiologists study these tiny, self-replicating machines to understand the basic principles of life: growth, metabolism, cell division, control of gene expression, response to environmental stimuli. Microbiologists are also concerned with controlling or harnessing microorganisms for the benefit of people, by isolating antibiotics or producing vaccines to protect against disease, and by developing and perfecting microorganisms for industrial uses. 

Immunology is the study of the molecular and cellular basis of host resistance and immunity to external agents such as pathogenic microorganisms. Immunologists study the mechanisms by which the body recognizes foreign antigens, generates appropriate antibodies to an enormously diverse spectrum of antigens, and sequesters and kills invading microorganisms. Their discoveries lead to vaccination against disease; transfusions and organ transplants; allergies; cancer; autoimmune diseases; and immune-deficiency diseases such as AIDS. Antibodies may soon be used in conjunction with antibiotics or chemical agents as specific “magic bullets” to diagnose disease and attack microbes and cancers. 

The disciplines of microbiology and immunology are natural partners in research, and both fields use the modern methods of cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics to study basic life processes. The members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology perform research on microbial physiology and genetics, microbial pathogenesis, molecular virology, cellular and molecular immunology, and parasitology. Students registered in the Department are therefore exposed to these related areas and receive an excellent background in basic biology and chemistry, as well as in the more applied areas of biotechnology and medicine.

Many opportunities exist for careers in basic or applied microbiology and immunology, medical microbiology, environmental microbiology, and biotechnology. They include positions in industry (pharmaceutical and biotechnology), hospitals, universities, and government (environment, public health, and energy). A degree in microbiology also provides an excellent basis for entering professional and postgraduate programs in medicine, dentistry, the veterinary sciences, research, and education.

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Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Major Microbiology and Immunology (66 Credits)
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Honours Microbiology and Immunology (72 Credits)
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Liberal Program - Core Science Component Microbiology and Immunology (50 Credits)